It’s a digital age, but when it comes to personal finance, clients still prefer meeting their advisor face to face, according to the “AdvisorComms 2019” survey, published annually by Redtail Technology.

Redtail polled more than 3,200 wealth management professionals across the U.S., stewarding $100 million to more than $1 billion in client assets, to understand industry trends in client communication. The majority of respondents (87%) work for financial advice firms with one to 15 employees.

Redtail found that in-person meetings generate the most client engagement (76%), followed by phone calls (66%). In comparison, print newsletters generated just 10%, podcasts/radio 3%, and webinars 2.7% of client engagement.

Although many clients reportedly prefer an in-person meeting with their advisor, advisors are missing out on an opportunity to stay in touch with the latest technology used by many of their clients, according to the survey.

While 87% of advisory firm employees believe their clients would like to communicate with them via text, 29% of firms have a “no client texting” policy in their office, respondents said. Another 40% of respondents said their broker-dealers have not approved of texting as a form of communication with clients. 

That could soon change. Despite office protocol at many firms that discourages texting clients, at least one-third of the Redtail respondents (31%) said they are planning to adopt texting as a communications channel within the next year.

Designing a website that interactively engages with established and prospective clients is also a hurdle for many financial advisory firms.

According to Redtail, nearly half of all respondents (45%) said using technology to customize content outside of a one-on-one client meeting is a top challenge for them, with a third (30%) finding it difficult to produce unique content and another third (28%) struggling to produce consistent content. A fifth of respondents (22%) said they do not tailor content to prospective or established clients at all.

Even though some respondents demonstrated a willingness to embrace the communications capabilities of current technology, the survey indicated that many advisors take a noncommittal attitude toward engaging with clients via the latest tech. 

Nearly half the respondents (48%) said they aren’t tailoring their communications with prospects and another 48% of respondents said they aren’t communicating with their clients’ families. The remaining respondents said they customize client communications according to age (73%), income (44%) and gender (28%).

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